Attachment

Caregiver infant interactions and evaluation

Attachment: a close, two way emotional bond between two individuals in which each person sees the other as essential for their own emotional security. It includes proximity with physical closeness, stranger anxiety and separation anxiety.

Caregiver-infant interactions include interactional synchrony where adults and babies respond in time, reciprocity where they respond taking it in turns, imitation where the infant mimics the adult, and sensitive responsiveness where the adult responds sensitively. 

Meltzoff and Moore: found that infants as young as 12 days old could imitate facial and manual gestures from adults

Research to support from Melzoff and Moore

The use of clear controlled observations such as video recording ensures a detailed analysis can be performed and validity is strong

Infant behaviour is difficult to test because it is very irrational and may occur by chance. Since babies cannot speak for themselves, the results are based in inference

Difficult to replicate findings as each baby is different and possibly irrational

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Stages of attachment and evaluations

Pre-attachment phase, birth to 3 months, attracted to humans, demonstated by smiling at them. Indiscriminate-attachment phase, 3 months to 7/8 months, can discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar people and are extremely sociable with no sign of strnager anxiety. Discriminate-attachment phase, 7/8 months+, develop specific primary caregiver attachment, showing separation and stranger anxiety. Multiple attachments, 9 months+, strong emotional ties formed with other major caregivers but primary attachment is still strongest with lesser stranger anxiety.

Schaffer and Emerson:60 working class families in Glasgow asked about separation anxiety. 50 8 month olds had more than one attachment showing multiple attachment idea

Fathers role in attachment; fathers are the minor attachment figures providing resources, less likely to be primary caregivers. They are more playful, phyically active and provide more stimulating situations. Ross found that there was a positive correlation between number of nappies changed and strength of attachment. 

Research from Schaffer and Emerson, a naturalistic observation with high external validity

Suggests development is a fixed process and puts pressure on families. Single and same sex parents are not accounted for, how applicable is this to modern day?

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Types of attachment and evaluations

Secure attachment: strong bond, separation anxiety is shown but the child is easily comforted, there is a willingness to explore and stranger anxiety is shown only when the mother is not present.

Insecure avoidant: separation anxiety is not present, social interaction is avoided and there is little stranger anxiety, when reunited they avoid contact with the caregiver.

Insecure resistant: extreme separation anxiety and extremely hard to comfort, they are unwilling to explore, they reject and accept social interaction and have high stranger anxiety.

Ainsworth used controlled observation and 100 middle class american children and their mothers to register their attachemnt type. Separation anxiety, stranger anxiety, orientaition behaviour, and joy on reunion. 66% secure, 22% avoidant, 11% resitant. 

Research is easy to replicate due to high levels of control and standardised procedure, with high external and internal validity

Questions of cross cultural validity means that some may be accused of bad parenting

Lack of cological validity as there is a lack of mundane realism as children would not act like this

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Cultural variations and evaluations

Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg: meta analysis across 8 countries. Found that secure is the most common attachment type across all cultures. In individualistic cultures, insecure avoidant was second most common. In collectivist cultures, the second most common is insecure resistant. The variation within cultures was 1.5 times greater than between cultures, showing countries raise their kids differently.

Takahashi: 60% of Japanese children were secure, 0% were avoidant and 32% were resistent. The children were extremely disturbed when left alone and the experiment had to be stopped. This is due to severe differences between cultures as they are barely separated before age 2 and are taught ignoring strangers is rude

Research from VI is a meta analysis and has a large sample size, increasing generalisability

The studies showed the strange situation cannot be used in all cultures as it is an american method. We must consider how appropriate it is for other cultures as it caused extreme distress

Suggests other countries are raising their kids wrong as it is a western norm (ethnocentrism)

18 of the 32 samples in VI were american, lack of class and country differences 

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Learning theory of attachment and evaluation

Classical conditioning: the baby forms an attachment because she provides food and that gives pleasure. The mother is the neutral stimulus that eventually becomes the conditioned stimulus. The food is the unconditioned stimulus that eventually get replaced, and the pleasure is the unconditioned response that comes conditioned. 

Operant conditioning: the attachment is also formed through negative reinforcement or punishment. If the baby is dirty, the mother comes to remove the discomfort. The attachment is formed as it provides relief from discomfort. 

Harlow: the isolated monkeys spent most of the time clinging to the cloth monkey rather than the wire food-providing monkey. They grew up to be emotionally and socially disturbed.This shows that attachments are formed due to providing of comfort rather than food and that isolation causes later problems 

Research to support role of operant conditioning from Harlow and Ross as distress was removed in form of comfort and removal of nappies 

Harlow refutes this idea as there was no food based attachment. It also faces generalisability issues as the research was based off animals. There are also contradicting theories of Bowlby who suggests attachment is evolutionary

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Bowlby's theory of attachment and evaluation

Lorenz: the goslings in the incubator followed him around just like how the others followed mother. Imprinting is displayed as happening within the first 13-16 hours. 32 hours is the critical period after which no attachment is formed.  

Bowlby evolutionary attachment: The monotropy bond is the bond formed with the primary caregiver, this is the most important one and is based on the idea of survival. This bond forms a template for all future relations in the form of the internal working model. The critical period is 2.5 years after which a childs development will be seriously damaged. 

The internal working model: serves as model for what future relationships will be like. A strong monotropic bond results in strong and loving future relationships. It affects relations with friends, love interests and the individuals own parenting skills. 

Research to support the critical period from Lorenz 

Opposing theory in form of learning theory that says attachments are formed through environment

Economic implications as this would require parents to stay at home for 2 years and this will affect employment rights 

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Animal studies of attachment and evaluations

Lorenz: Goslings followed Lorenz or the mother around displaying imprinting from birth. Shows existence of critical period 

Harlow: Infant monkeys formed stronger attachments with the comforting figure rather than the one which provides food. Displays operant conditioning role in attachment. 

The fasting breeding of animals such as mice and rats means that there can be multiple observations at the same time 

There is too much of a difference between the brain structure and behaviours of humans and animals to be able to compare them

There are ethical issues involved with separating animals and their mothers, as the monkeys showed emotional and social deprivation , becoming more aggressive and less sociable 

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Influence of early attachment on adult relationshi

Romantic relationships: Hazan and Shaver found that those who had secure attachments had the lowest divorce rate at 6% and had happy and loving relations, whereas the insecure avoidant faced a 12% divorce rate and had a fear of intimacy.

Later childhood: Mryon-Wilson and Smith found that secure children were least likely to be involved in bullying, the avoidant were most likely to be victims, and the resistant were most likely to be the bullies

Parenting: Bailey found that there was a clear correlation between participants own relationships with parents influenced the relationship they had with their own child. 

Childhood abuse: all types of abuse had a negative effect on the ability to control or express emotions and had difficulty building attachments. Kolk and Fisher found that victims of abuse had disorganised attachments and had difficulty regulating emotions

Research to support continuity hypothesis have large sample sizes and high validity

Extreme example of determinsim as it suggests you have no choice in your future relations

Studies are based off of self report so may not be true representations thanks to social desirability bias and therefore not an accurate measure

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Bowlby's maternal deprivation theory and evaluatio

Proposes what happens when an infant fails to form a monotropic bond due to deprivation. Failure to form a monotropic bond by the critical period of 2.5 years will result in irreversible consequences, affecting the internal working model and therefore an inability to parent well. The continuity hypothesis may lead to issues in later relationships as well as an impact on intellectual and emotional characterisitics

Bowlby's 44 juvenile thieves: found that 86% of the affectionless psychopaths has experienced early prolonged separation from their mother and 17% of the ordinary thieves had also had this. These findings show a link between early separation and the altering of behaviours leading to consequences such as affectionless psychopathy

Research from Harlow shows that isolation can lead to emotional and social defects, the monkeys were aggressive and often killed their young

Support from Bowlby's 44 thieves that show impact of early childhood separation 

Schaffers multiple attachments show that the child may not be entirely dependent on the mother so this isnt as much of a problem

Correlational research means we cannot be sure of whether this is a cause or one of many factors

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The effects of institutionalisation and evaluation

Disinhibited attachment: equally friendly and affectionate towards both strangers and people they know well, due to living with multiple caregivers. Mental retardation: slowing of intellectual growth, can be reversed by age 4 if adoption took place before 6 months, e.g. impaired language, poor social skills, little empathy. Physical underdevelopment: children are smaller 

Rutter: 165 Romanian orphans adopted at either age 2 or 4 were assessed for physical, social and cognitive development, then compared with British children adopted at 6 months. The Romanians were initially behind in development but managed to catch up by age 4. Many of those adopted after 6 months faced disinhibited attachments and problems with peer relations. The earlier the child is adopted the more likely they will be able to recover

Hodges and Tizard: Children who had been restored to old families had poorer relations than those who'd been adopted. Both groups sought adult attention and approval, were successful with peers. Showed that negative effects can be overcome as neither group showed effects of deprivation

Real life application to how institutions work, e.g. key workers given. Both studies used control groups to ensure high validity and levels of comparison 

Unsure of long term impacts for continutity hypothesis with their own children, as well as issues with cross cultural validity across countries 

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